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Zereshk polo morgh is a dish full of amazing flavors including saffron!
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4.55 from 22 votes

Zereshk Polo Morgh - Persian Barberry Rice with Chicken

Zereshk polo morgh is one of the most famous dishes in Persian cuisine. It's full of wonderful flavors such as saffron, turmeric and barberry.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Persian
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 562kcal
Author: Shadi HasanzadeNemati


Liquid Saffron:

  • 1/2 tsp ground saffron
  • 2 ice cubes

Tomato Paste Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cup water


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp butter
  • 1.5 lb chicken thighs bone-in and skin-off
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp liquid saffron


  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 bell pepper cut into chunks
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 1 tbsp liquid saffron


  • 3 tbsp barberries
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp liquid saffron

To serve:

  • 2 times the recipe of Persian Style Rice on the blog
  • 2 tbsp liquid saffron


Liquid Saffron:

  • Place the ice cubes in a very small cup and sprinkle saffron on top. Let it sit in room temperature until fully melted and saffron is dissolved. For more details, check out how to bloom saffron.

Tomato Paste Sauce:

  • Heat oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.
  • Add turmeric, salt and pepper and let the spices mix for 30 seconds.
  • Add tomato paste and saute until dark red.
  • Add water and bring to boil, let it simmer for 2-3 minutes. Put it aside.

Chicken and Veggies:

  • Sprinkle the chicken thighs generously with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oil in a big pan over medium heat.
  • Add butter and let it melt.
  • Put the chicken thighs in the pan, skin side down.
  • Pour liquid saffron all around the pan, tilt the pan a bit so the saffron gets to the skin.
  • Sear the chicken until the skin is golden brown and crispy, about 7 minutes.
  • Flip the chicken thighs so the other side also gets golden brown. About 5 minutes.
  • Take the chicken thighs out of the pan, add onion, bell pepper and carrots to the pan. There is no need for more oil as the chicken thighs have rendered fat.
  • Saute the veggies for 2 minutes and place the chicken on them, skin side up.
  • Add the tomato paste sauce to the pan and add the liquid saffron.
  • Bring to simmer and let it cook on low heat for 40-45 minutes until veggies are soft and the chicken is fully cooked.
  • Meanwhile make the rice. (Recipe on the blog)
  • minutes before serving, prepare the barberries:
  • Put the barberries, water, oil, sugar and liquid saffron. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Put the pan on low heat and cook the barberries until bright red and shiny.

To Serve:

  • Take 4-5 tbsp of Persian style rice and mix it with 2 tbsp liquid saffron, set it aside. You can mix some cooked barberries into it or just serve the barberries on top.
  • Serve some Persian style rice on a plate and add the saffron barberry rice on top of it.
  • Serve the chicken on the side with some sauce drizzled on top and some served in a bowl for additional taste.


  • To make the rice, check out our tutorials on Persian rice and tahdig, easy Persian style rice or instant pot white rice.
  • You can find barberries at any Iranian or middle eastern shop. 
  • Don't overcook the chicken as it might dry out. The chicken is ready once the internal temperature registers at 165ºF.
  • Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. 


Calories: 562kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 168mg | Sodium: 1131mg | Potassium: 671mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 6358IU | Vitamin C: 44mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 2mg